Monday, July 21, 2014

Maple Bacon Upside Down Birthday Cake

Yesterday we celebrated our oldest son's 14th birthday!  This year, for his birthday theme, we decided to focus on one of his favorite foods: BACON!

When I asked the birthday boy what type of cake he would like this year, his answer was, "A white cake topped with a Bacon Donut and surrounded by Cream Puffs!" (Cream Puffs are another favorite treat of his!)  I got pretty nauseous after searching for images of "Bacon Birthday Cakes" but thought I might be able to pull off a Bundt Cake, topped with a Maple Glaze and Bacon Crumbles. Then Charlotte came to my rescue and emailed me the link to this Maple Bacon Upside Down Cake which actually looked really yummy!

Despite comments and questions from our guests (my Dad!) like "You didn't actually put real bacon on that cake?!" the cake was such a hit and it didn't last very long. Before it completely disappeared, I wrapped up a piece to send home with my brother and niece, for my sister-in-law. (She had stayed home with their brand new one-week-old baby girl!) Here is the text message Meagan sent me this afternoon:

"Are you kidding me with that cake?! That is seriously the best thing I've ever eaten. EVER!! I must have that recipe!"

Maple Bacon Upside Down Cake
Source: Betty Crocker

  • 6 slices maple-smoked bacon
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ white cake mix
  • 1 container (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Tear bacon into pieces; set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

Vintage Style Cafe Toile Apron - Beautiful Tiered Knit Peasant Skirt

Meanwhile, in 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. 

Cook pecans in reserved bacon drippings over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Add brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla to pecans, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over butter in pan. 

In large bowl, beat cake mix, sour cream, milk, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. 

Beat 2 minutes on medium speed; stir in almond extract. 

Pour batter over pecan mixture in pan. 

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. 

Place heatproof serving plate upside down on pan; turn plate and pan over. Let pan remain over cake 1 minute so pecan mixture can drizzle over cake. 

Remove pan; sprinkle cake with bacon. Serve warm. 

I'll be back sometime soon with the rest of the birthday pictures, including the cream puffs!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

{this moment}

Day 8: They are finally on their way home! I can't wait to hear all about the camp. 
It looks like they had a lot of fun from this picture my husband just sent.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Daybook :: July 18, 2014

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click any of the links, then add an item (any item!) to your cart and complete the purchase, I will receive a commission. We are so grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you!

Outside my window...
we've been enjoying our daily visitors.  "Why, don't you know? They're twitterpated!"

I am thinking...
about Melody's post on Discovering God's Purpose for Your Blog, Charlotte's break, Katherine's post on authenticity and ambition, and Mary's letter to Small-Time Mediocre Bloggers.  They are all inspiring posts which have given me so much to think about as a blogger.

I am thankful... 
for the incredible love and generosity that is being shown to our friends, a local Catholic homeschool family, who lost their two year old in a tragic accidental drowning last Sunday.  In just three days we have raised nearly $25,000 to help offset the medical and funeral expenses. Thanks be to God, and thank you all for your help and prayers!

Learning all the time...
Last week we completed Track A of Meet the Masters! Hopefully I can find time to share the pictures from our unit studies on Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet sometime soon. This has been such a fun program and I'm looking forward to continuing on to Track B during this upcoming school year.

Note: You can scroll through all our past Meet the Masters units under the label "Meet the Masters." I purchased the A-G Bundle for ages 10-Adult (with some of my charter school allotment) to use with all our children, along with art supplies, from Rainbow Resource. You can also find the program at a discount through Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

Celebrating the liturgical year...
With the oldest two boys out of town this week, I had all sorts of recipes and crafts planned for the younger children for some of the feasts days this week, but we haven't been able to get to them after all.  Perhaps we will still have some "Saintly Summer Fun" sometime soon, but if not I can always save the craft supplies for next July. I love the liturgical year!

From the kitchen... 
Coconut Chia Granola with Almond Milk.  Yum!

I am working on... 
Oh, where to start? I'm working on organizing, decluttering, and cleaning the bedrooms, which is taking FORever! I am ordering our school books for the upcoming school year, and still trying to find the time to finalize our plans. We've been working with contractors and trying to make decisions on what we want, combined with what we can afford, on the garage plans. I have some deadlines coming up for Catholic Digest and Creative Catechist, so I need to start working on my submissions. And that's just the beginning of my "to-do" list lately… somewhere in there I'm trying to make the time to exercise, but that hasn't been happening much (at all) this week. Hopefully today I can squeeze in some time on the treadmill.

I am creating...
Saint Joachim & Anne Faith Folders with some of our children!  The giveaway ends today so click over to last week's post to enter for a chance to win one of two copies, if you haven't already.

I am going...
to try and coordinate some meals for my brother's family, who just welcomed their second baby this past Sunday!  At least that is the plan, if I can convince my sister-in-law. :)

I am hoping...
to get back to town so I can hold my new niece again. She is such a doll!  We were able to go visit at the hospital on Monday evening, and then went to pick up dinner for them to drop off at their home, since they were being discharged. It was love at first sight.

I am praying...
for the Snodgrass family.


I am reading
the Christ 101 Study Manual.

So far I love this apologetics course! It's is geared towards high-school age students and adults, but my husband and I are considering beginning Christ 101 from Classical Theist, along with the Study Manual, with our oldest two boys this upcoming school year.

Pondering these words...
from Fr. Gabriel, OCD in Divine Intimacy:

"O Lord, teach me to seek you, even when my heart is dry and my mind distracted."

I am listening (and laughing)... 
to Snuggles' recent comments on "How do babies come out of their mom's tummy? There is only ONE place I can think of. . . and it's a STINKY place!"

Around the house...
ummm, yeah... about that. Let's just say that after spending the last few days at the computer running the fundraiser, I have quite a bit to do before my husband arrives back home tomorrow night.  As soon as I finish up this post I'm planning on getting to work cleaning, washing dishes, catching up the laundry, and hopefully making a few plans for the birthday on Sunday.

One of my favorite things...  
Our new Keurig Coffee Maker. My husband was skeptical when I asked if we could purchase the Keurig when we were at Costco a couple weeks ago, but he agreed to give it a try and he loves it just as much as I do, if not more!

This week's plans
Sean and the boys will be home late tomorrow night, just in time for our oldest son's 14th birthday on Sunday! They left early last Saturday morning to travel to attend the boys' camp at my husband's youngest brother's parish in Idaho!  I can't wait to hear all about their trip!

A little peek at my day...
The girls were both up extra early so they could continue working on the paintings they started yesterday afternoon.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Please Join Me in Helping a Family in Need

    As you all know, on Sunday, July 13th, our friends lost their toddler, Julianna Snodgrass (the fourth of their five children), in a tragic accidental drowning while visiting family in California.

    In addition to our prayers, the family is in need of our financial help and support. Julianna was air lifted to the hospital during the attempts to resuscitate so the medical bills will be extraordinary. With the funeral expenses on top of those and all of the grief too, this family will be suffering tremendously. 

    If you can help in any way, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated. Together we can at least help lighten the financial burden on their family as they grieve this tremendous loss.

    Please continue to pray for Gabe & Renee Snodgrass, and their family, that God may pour His grace upon them in this time of sorrow. May God reward you abundantly!

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Urgent Prayer Request

    A dear friend of mine and her husband just found their two year old face down in a bucket of water, not breathing.  Her lips and fingers blue. Please pray that they can revive her. The little one is being air lifted to the hospital.

    Please Pray. Thank you!

    + + +

    Update: Thank you all for the prayers. The precious little one did not make it… I am so heartbroken for their family. Please continue to keep them in your prayers!

    Update #2: We have set up a GoFundMe page here to help with the extraordinary medical and funeral expenses.

    O Tender Heart of Jesus, please have mercy on my dear friend's grieving heart! She has lost her child, and her soul is flooded with tears. And yet she knows that Thou hast not abandoned her. Thou art with her always. Thou hast triumphed over death, so that through Sanctifying Grace, death is not the end of life, but only the beginning of a life of eternal joy and peace. Help her, O Lord, in this time of sorrow, to find consolation in knowing her child is now a saint and enjoys the perfect happiness of living with Thee in Heaven.

    O Mary, my Sorrowful Mother, who gazed in sorrow at the sight of thy Son dying on the Cross, please pray for my dear friend and her family in their time of grief. Help them to find peace and comfort in trusting in our merciful Father’s love. May this trial serve to strengthen the bond between their sorrowing hearts, to unite them even more closely to each other, and to deepen their faith and trust in God our Father. Though their sweet child is lost to them in this life, may they know the unutterable joy of meeting their child again in Heaven.

    Blessed Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese the Little Flower, you experienced profound grief when you held four of your children in your arms as they breathed their last breath. Assist my dear friend in her grief, for she too has lost a child. You knew deep sorrow, yet you never grew bitter or angry against God, but always trusted in His infinite mercy and love. Help her to trust Him too. Your faith assured you that your little ones were happy in Heaven, and you found consolation in knowing they were watching over your family and praying for you. Help her, too, to be strengthened by her Catholic Faith, and to find joy in knowing that her precious child is now enjoying the peace and joy of Heaven.

    All ye heavenly Angels and Saints, pray for them! Pray for their grieving family! May they never forget to pray to the little member of their family who is watching over them from Heaven. Amen.

    Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever.
    John 11:25-26

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    Holy Learning {Sponsored Giveaway}

    "Holy Learning is a mom-owned, small Catholic company created to help Catholic families and teachers supplement their educational programs. Our products are meant to help parents and educators teach the Catholic faith using hands-on materials and projects. Our primary product is the Faith Folder, which is our version of a lapbook but we also carry Faith Rings, Faith Cards and an Adoration Guidebook. New products are continually being developed. All of the products are available in digital pdf file format. Print materials are only made available by special request and on a limited basis." 

    Our family really enjoys creating Lap Books. I have been blogging about the "Faith Folders" we have made with the printables from Holy Learning (formerly known as Faith Folders for Catholics) for years including the Advent Lap Book, Lent Lap Book, Year for Priests Lap Book, and the Saint Therese Lap Book (and here). Not to mention all the other great Faith Folders that haven't made it onto Shower of Roses including The Things I See in Church and the Sacrament of Confession Faith Folder.

    Twinkle Toes' Mini Books for her Sacrament of Confession Faith Folder in 2011-2012

    With the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne coming up later this month, I'm so excited to have the opportunity to review and give away a couple copies of the Saints Joachim and Anne Faith Folder from Holy Learning! The past year we weren't able to make nearly as many Lap Books as we have in the past, but I'm really hoping to incorporate a few into our school plans, at least with the younger children, this upcoming school year.

    As always, Lindy has done a great job putting together a lovely collection of mini-books for this Faith Folder on Saints Joachim and Anne. I'm especially looking forward to teaching the children a little more about their own "Family Tree" and helping them with the "Grandparent Interview" inspired by these "Patrons of Parents and Grandparents!"

    One of my favorite features of the Faith Folders from Holy Learning is all the options included for each mini-book.   For example, you can print the mini-books in either black and white or in color (I will often print the black and white version onto a color paper of our choice to save on ink), and there is usually the option between pre-typed text or blank lines for the children to fill in the mini-books themselves after researching the topic, making the folder easily adaptable for a variety of ages and grade levels.

    Tip: With so many pages and options included, the Faith Folder pdf file can be a little overwhelming, especially if you've never made a lap book. What I always do, while collecting and printing the supplies for our lap books, is start with printing out the content list. I then scroll through the pdf on my computer and take notes on which pages I need to print and on what type of paper (plain, color, or card stock). For this particular Lap Book I ended up printing 18 pages per child, of the 78 included in the pdf, in addition to a coloring page and some photographs to add to the lap book as well. Occasionally I will print out the page of directions for the mini-book (as you can see in the image of the "Grandparent Interview") but I usually just read those on my computer or iPad.

    Our beautiful St. Anne Statue (affiliate link)

    I will share pictures of our Saints Joachim and Anne Faith Folders with you all once they are completed, but in the meantime I have a couple Faith Folders to give away and a coupon code to share!  I hope you all have a great weekend!

    Holy Learning is currently offering all of my visitors 25% OFF ANY ORDER with coupon code "roses" valid July 12-26!

    Lindy, from Holy Learning, has also generously offered to send TWO of my visitors copies of the Saints Joachim and Anne Faith Folder!

    Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Celebrating the 4th of July

    The 4th of July was a week ago and I still haven't posted any pictures!  Despite my lack of plans this year we ended up having a really nice day with family and friends.

    Usually we go to a friends home for a BBQ and to watch the fireworks, but this year they weren't able to host the party.  My children were so excited when Uncle Brian and Aunt Meagan called on the morning of the 4th to see if we could come over to swim!  

    While the big kids played in the pool with their wild crazy Uncles (my brothers Scott and David were also there, and so was my sister JoAnn!) my little ones had fun visiting with their Aunts and playing with pinwheels.

    Bud especially loved playing hide-and-go seek and getting chased around the big tree in the back yard. 

    . . . At least it was all fun and games, until "scary" Uncle Brian was on the other side of the tree! 

    Nice one, Bri! 

    (Speaking of my brother Brian and his family, can you please offer a prayer for a safe delivery and healthy baby? My newest niece is due on the 23rd and could be arriving anytime!) 

    While all the big kids were eating, Bud and I took advantage of the calm water in the pool!

    We headed back home by 6pm since we had invited a friend over for dinner and a rematch of Ticket to Ride, following some "Hockey!"

    And Rose was just as cute as ever...

    All the children were given little straw hats from the local building supply store during the parade the weekend before. She wrapped the chin strap over her hat to pull up the sides and turn it into cowboy hat. She had dressed herself for the 4th in her red cowgirl boots, jean skirt, hello kitty shirt, and hat!

    After hockey we grilled Tilapia Burgers to go along with potato salad and veggies. I skipped the bun.

    Other than purchasing Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Cherries along with some Vanilla Ice Cream, I hadn't planned any treats this year. After we got home from swimming I decided to pop a couple gluten-free desserts (Vanilla Cake and Chocolate Brownies) in the oven to go along with the fruit and ice cream.  It was the first time I had tried the Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe on the back of the flour blend… It totally stuck to the non-stick pan.

    I didn't have time to try and make another, so we pieced it together, covered it with frosting and berries. (From a distance) You could hardly tell and it still tasted delicious. 

    After dinner our oldest two boys set up Ticket to Ride to play with Marc, Sean and I.  It is always such a fun game to play.  You can see my green trains running from San Francisco all along the bottom of the US, then up and down the east coast.  Green won! ;) 

    While we were playing Ticket to Ride we heard what we thought was someone shooting a gun, until we went outside to check.  One of our crazy neighbors was setting off fireworks!

    It had me worried all night (especially considering we are surrounded by trees and fire danger is high right now!) but the kids loved seeing them through the trees.

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